ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – Harukyo Nomura won her first title on the U.S. LPGA tour, beating World No. 1 Lydia Ko in an enthralling final-round battle to capture the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open on Sunday.
“I’m excited,” the 23-year-old Nomura said. “It hasn’t sunk in yet that I’ve won, but I’m happy.”
Starting the day in a three-way tie for the lead, one shot ahead of Ko, Nomura quickly found herself in a two-way race with the teenage phenomenon from New Zealand, who shot in front with three birdies on the first five holes.
Nomura did not blast out of the gate, but picked up steam as play progressed in an eight-birdie round. She showed no signs of slowing until she dropped a stroke on No. 18 to hole out for the tournament at 16-under-par 272.
“I was able to play my own game of golf. My shots were good, but my putts were so good I couldn’t believe it,” said Nomura.
Nomura and Ko share a Korean connection. Nomura, whose father is Japanese, moved to South Korea when she was five. Ko, who was born in Seoul, moved to New Zealand with her parents as an infant.
Ko finished three strokes back, but the two youngsters left the rest of the field eating their dust, with Australian veteran Karrie Webb third at 9 under.
Matsuyama in hunt
Pacific Palisades California
Hideki Matsuyama remained in contention to become the first Japanese golfer to win back-to-back titles on the U.S. PGA Tour after a 3-under-par 68 in the third round of the Northern Trust Open on Saturday.
Matsuyama, who won his last event at the Phoenix Open earlier this month, shot six birdies and three bogeys at the par-71 Riviera Country Club and closed out tied for 10th place, three shots behind American Bubba Watson.